Project Proposal: Save the Night

December 15, 2016

Save the Night

Participants: Max Kerns & Amanda Apicella

Description of Project: To research Ohio Wesleyan University’s history in regards to Astronomy as well as look into the topic of light pollution and how it can be addressed both on campus and off. We are going to be looking into past projects and proposals at OWU and to other campuses/areas that have taken steps or made attempts to address this issue. We also hope to propose potential solutions to issues of light pollution and the pros & cons of each for our campus and the city of Delaware Ohio. It is also important to look into ways to raise awareness to start getting others involved so that future plans/projects can get the support they need.

Project Outline:

  1. Ohio Wesleyan University’s History with Astronomy
    1. Perkins Observatory
    2. Student Observatory
  2. Previous Projects and Proposals
    1. Lights Out OWU (by Brendan Wood and Varalie Vanichstin)
    2. Incandescent Suppressant Fluorescent Project (by Andrea Mac Vay and Sean Kinghorn)
  3. Details and Information on Light Pollution
    1. Types of light pollution and what causes them (types of lights and uses of them)
    2. Effects on Environment and Human Health
    3. Security and crime
  4. Recommendations and Potential models
    1. Earth Hour Promis
    2. Retrofitting city lighting
      1. Potentially adding top covers for outdoor lighting to limit amount of upward-facing light
    3. Energy saving initiatives



Project Report: “Save the Night” Amanda Apicella and Max Kerns

December 15, 2016

Save the Night   


Amanda Apicella and Max Kerns


“Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand.” ~Neil Armstrong

During the process of putting together our project we were inspired by many communities around the United States that have initiated policy in order to reduce light pollution. Humankind has long had a deep and meaningful connection to the cosmos. It is through this connection, that dreams are inspired, questions are born, and we dare to hope.

OWU has also had a lasting history in Astronomy, since the late 1800s. One particular figure, Hiram Mills Perkins, a long time Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy, made great efforts to provide facilities to better the ability of learning about our universe. His donation of two facilities, provided many benefits. The Student Observatory, at Ohio wesleyan, was built in the early 1900s and is still in use by students today. The second, Perkins Observatory was built just south of Delaware City on State route 23. Perkins observatory has been host to numerous research teams from Ohio Wesleyan University and  The Ohio State University. It was even on the grounds of Perkins observatory that the WOW signal was heard, using the Big Ear radio telescope.

So putting together these ideas, those of a reduction in light pollution and being able to reconnect to a enriched past, we began to look for ways to incorporate a model of reducing light usage. It was not long that we found that some of these concepts had been brought up before as ways to help greening of Ohio Wesleyan Campus and greatly reduce energy needs. Furthermore we found innovative programs from other universities throughout the United States. This combined with Earth Hour programs seemed a logical step in bringing several projects together on a campus initiative to save money, reduce our carbon footprint, and reduce light pollution, in hopes to save the night sky.

Methods and Results

Previous research Proposals:

In order to move forward with the “Save the Night Project” we wanted to try and merge some information from the past and implement these with our project.

Lights Out OWU – Proposed by Brendan Wood and Varalie Vanichstin


This project definitely has potential to be made into something. From where the project can go from here there are several options. One of the first ideas to work to calculate the actual figures of power draw from before the lights are shut off more regularly and what they will be afterwards. Another idea to help construct a student group that could be responsible for helping promote this idea of helping to keep lights and equipment off when not in use. This group could also be put to work to help shut the lights off, initially perhaps before weekends and from there an even more regularly weekly event. If properly managed this could definitely be fostered into a solid initiative to help promote the idea and actual practice of being more green and safer to the environment.

Incandescent Suppressant Fluorescent Project – Proposed by Andrea Mac Vay and Sean Kinghorn


With regards to this university, acceptance of this proposal would be highly recommended. The university would benefit greatly in electricity costs while also enjoying the benefits of having conducted an environmentally-friendly project that will bring attention to the campus. However, most recommendations with this project involve the problems with LED technology itself. The City of Pittsburgh also conducted an extensive exterior lighting retrofit and discovered it would be most beneficial to replace all fixtures rather than merely replacing the lamps – a question that was debated in this project as well. Though it would initially cost more money, this study condones this course of action, as well as encouraging more research to be conducted on LED lights. The original cost of this project may appear daunting to members of the board, but the reality is that the long-term benefits will be innumerable. Currently, the university’s ten year energy costs exceed $340,000, but if the LED lights provided by Eco Lumens are installed, this cost will be reduced to just under $57,500 (Appendix 2). It seems ridiculous to not support this project when presented with such numbers, and if one also considers the environmental benefits it seems the project is a guaranteed success.

Combination of Ideas:

Using Lights out proposal along with a campus wide initiative to reduce electricity costs, savings could then be used to implement new lighting as lights deteriorate or are need of repair. We recommend when replacing lighting to use more effective lights that reduce light pollution. Also using these initiatives savings could be tracked to also help facilitate the process. The more that Ohio Wesleyan saves the more the university can use to replace the current lighting. The lighting then saves more money, with less electric being used, to then foster replacing more lights.

[Detailed description of the project. Include your question or goal for the project, relevant sources of information (articles, books, web sites, people, etc.). Describe what you did, how you did it, and the outcome of your project. Please include details including how you did things, created/made things, planned, etc. Include the outcomes, including problems you encountered, and suggestions for future work.]


Earth Hour Promise:

The idea is really quite simple. Turn off all non-essential lighting on OWU campus. Get student and faculty to commit to one hour. Earth Hour 25 March 2017, from 8:30 to 9:30 pm. Hopefully this will create interest in Earth Hour and the message of #changeclimatechange. We can use this initiative to get a meaningful dialogue started about reducing our energy in a simple way. With long term benefits of saving the night, and reducing light pollution.

Depending on time and budget, It would be nice to have an event on the Jay where donations could be received for Earth Hour. One simple idea would be to sell led candles for $10 representing OWU’s commitment to bringing back the night. This could hopefully turn into an annual event that would focus on climate issues keep the dialogue alive.

Potential model for Delaware Community:

Hopefully with enough participation, in the future we could use models from OWU to further this Earth Hour event to the community of Delaware. Helping to reduce light pollution for the city and saving money as well. Then using the same model to retrofit city lighting into more useful and energy efficient varieties.  This would be the “Skies the Limit” project that would help get the community involved. It would also be nice to see Perkins get involved.


Max Kerns:

Amanda Apicella:


Potential model for Delaware Community:

Hopefully with enough participation, in the future we could use models from OWU to further this Earth Hour event to the community of Delaware. Helping to reduce light pollution for the city and saving money as well. Then using the same model to retrofit city lighting into more useful and energy efficient varieties.  This would be the “Sky’s the Limit” project that would help get the community involved. It would also be nice to see Perkins get involved.

Things to consider:

History at OWU with astronomy. <- info on the Perkins Observatory. Only observatory in Ohio that provides public programs to tens of thousands of people every year. Founded by OWU.

Can’t find as much about student observatory though :/ Maybe try to get more info or contact someone in charge of it

Laying out the project plan for this years Earth Hour.

Putting together additional information. This year it might be as simple as getting the message out about Earth Hour.

Future initiatives to get the City of Delaware involved. (energy saving)

Possibly inquire about potentially adding top covers for outdoor lighting to limit the amount of light that travels upwards. The lights near Austin Manor could use covers and could inquire about that.

Additional Resources:

Earth Hour Link

Emerson Link:

Huffington Posts

Cornell Link:

University of Alberta Link:

Light Pollution Link:



Perkins II

Student Observatory

General Information Light Pollution:




Pacia Purcell: Project Report

December 15, 2016

Composting Possibilities at OWU

Pacia Purcell


  • Calculating food waste from Smith
    • How much is this costing OWU and how much could OWU save?
  • Possible Composting Techniques
    • Looking at other schools composting efforts
  • Composting with worms at Honors House
    • Researching composting and how it can work on a small scale and then implementing these techniques

Purpose: The purpose of my project was to learn about the food waste on campus and what can be done with it to make our campus more sustainable and to help the university save money. To do this I collected past and previous data about the food waste on campus and where exactly it goes. I also found how much could be saved if this food waste was composted. Additionally, I researched the composting process and started a small scale composting worm bin to eliminate food waste from the Honors House, where I live.

Food Waste on Campus: I first contacted Gene Castelli, the manager of Chartwells at OWU, to see if I could collect data on how much food waste is thrown out from the dining hall Smith. I was lucky enough to contact him at a time in which an outside company was coming in to access the food waste from Smith for a week. It was found from this outside company that food waste from Smith totals 1,000 to 1,300 pounds (325 gallons) per week. This includes all the food waste thrown from kitchen scraps, leftover food, and food left on student’s plates after they are done eating. From here I looked into where the food goes after it is taken out of the kitchen. There are three dumpsters in the Smith parking lot that are used for food waste. I calculated that each of these three dumpsters could hold about 400 pounds of waste, which correlates with the amount of food waste produced. I then went to the website of the waste company in charge of the dumpsters. I found that it cost $97 per month for one dumpster. From information that I gathered from a previous project in which food waste was collected for composting, I found that with food waste going towards composting at least one of the dumpsters could be removed.

Other Schools Composting: I researched composting efforts being made by other schools of similar size to OWU. I found examples of three different techniques being used. The first was of a school that had a small scale composting operation, but was receiving too much food waste to process. Therefore the school decided to invest in Earth Tubs, which are electrically run and able to process up to 100 pounds of food waste per day. The school invested in two of these and was able to process all of the food waste from the campus’s cafeterias. The second school I found collected the food waste and sent it off to an outside composting company. However, due to contaminated waste, the company stopped taking the food waste from the university. This is similar to the problems faced in the earlier composting project done at OWU. The third school I found had a successful, student-run composting operation. They built the composting tubs themselves, and they were kept up by several student volunteers from the school’s environmental club. The school found that by composting their food waste on campus they saved about $2,000 per semester.

Composting at Honors House: After a visit to Aleks Ilich’s house where he has a small worm composting operation in his garage, I was inspired to start composting myself. Over mid-semester break, I bought an undetermined amount of worms for $20 from a guy who also composts in Indianapolis. I then set up a storage tub that I found in my closet with paper bedding and food scraps to place the worms in, after finding a blog from a woman who had success doing the same thing. I brought the worms back to school with me and surprisingly things worked out rather well for a couple months. Their upkeep is relatively easy and include sprinkling water over their bedding a few times a week and feeding them once a week. However, after a couple months I hit a snag. The week before I had thrown in squash seeds, which the next week I found growing and none of the other food had been eaten by the worms. I left the tub alone for another week and upon inspection found that the squash sprouts had grown even taller and that there were other bugs in the tub. I then decided that I had sadly killed my worms.


Aleks Ilich:

Gene Castelli:


Project proposal

September 28, 2016


Project title: Lobby Posters for OWU play “Enemy of the People

Project Participant(s): James Ormerod & Pat Watson

Description & overview of project:

The theater department contacted Dr. Krygier early in the semester saying that they are putting on a play that revolves are water crisis. Although the play is about 100 years old, this is still a very relevant issue facing society. Elane from the theater department wants to collaborate with students on this topic. She wants us to make poster boards to be put in the lobby of the theater after the show so that people have something to bring the message home to them. These images should represent water crisis. Elane also wanted to have images to project onto the background of the play while being preformed. We will be in the lobby after the show to talk to people about what water crisis looks like today and what solutions are happening. We chose to focus on more local events rather then a worldwide perspective, for if we cant solve our own issues here we cannot solve them elsewhere. OWU’s Environment and Wildlife club will also be making posters and lobbying with us to further promote our collaboration with the theater department.

Outline of project: 

The play is to be preformed the weekend of Friday, October 7-9th. So far we have provided them with pictures depicting water crisis in Flint, Michigan and Toledo, Ohio- and the recovery that is still happening. We will continue to do research and educate ourselves on the subject as there are many layers to a water crisis. There is the government aspect, the social part, and the scientific side to every crisis. We will provide educational posters with pictures and descriptions about how society faces these current issues.

Another part of the project revolves around what happens after the play, as we have more than half of the semester left. I want to play a trip to visit the newly build Delaware water treatment plant to see what they are doing to keep our water clean. It would encompass the chemical, governmental, and local social dilemmas of water in our world today. We could also write a report on what a modern day water crisis looks like compared to what the play depicted.


Project Proposal: Sustainable Heating and Cooling at OWU

September 28, 2016

Participant: Chris Pessell

About half of the buildings on campus have no AC or have insufficient heating. Some of the buildings that do have H&C are inefficient, such as the Science Center. This project aims to find alternative methods that could provide efficient, cost effective, and environmentally conscious air conditioning and heating throughout the year. Some alternative methods that I have found include geothermal H&C that may be promising. However, entirely new heating and cooling systems are not the only focus. Additional ideas may be taken on a smaller scale such as adding more plants or painting buildings in such a way as to reflect heat. I believe this project is important because there is no reason that the buildings on campus shouldn’t have some form of air conditioning and heating. It would be an addition that could improve student retention rates which would fit well into the current 2020 goal. It would also fit in well with the proposed Sustainability Plan. portion of the plan is that building renovations should be made with environmental sustainability in mind. Adding effective and sustainable temperature control would be an important addition.

There is going to be a lot of research put into this project. First, research on alternative methods will need to be explored. Based on that research, 1-3 prospective alternatives (large scale or small scale) to conventional H&C should be selected. Next, I will need to contact a representative of the school to discuss current H&C methods and future plans for building renovations in terms of H&C. Based on that discussion, we could add some of the options to the Campus Sustainability Plan and/ or begin implementing small scale changes to the buildings.

Another benefit of this project would be the decrease in the urban heat island in Delaware. The Urban Heat Island is a phenomena where urban areas give off more heat due to the large amount of surfaces that absorb but don’t release heat and the amount of exhaust from cars or houses. The result is a higher temperature in urban areas when compared to the rural areas that surround the urban area. While Delaware is unlikely to have a large UHI when compared to a big city like Columbus, finding alternative ways to generate air conditioning or heat or making small changes to the ways we construct and paint our buildings could help to alleviate the UHI affect.


Summary of Project and the Results (Similar to an abstract)

  • Overview of why this project is important and the goals
  • Summary of effective alternatives and possible results of project.

Overview of Current, Conventional H&C on Campus

  • Discuss what methods are currently used on campus.
  • Discuss efficiency, cost, and environmental impact of current methods.
  • Discuss any future plans with building renovations.

Research of 1-3 Alternatives to Conventional H&C

  • Research on how each alternative could be beneficial to the campus (cost, efficiency, sustainability).
  • Details of each alternative.
  • Discuss other potential benefits.

How to Begin

  • Give ways that we could improve on temperature control in campus buildings that have not been renovated.

Projected Benefits of Project

  • Discuss overall benefits of project.
  • Relation to Campus Sustainability.
  • Final Take-Away Message

Annotated Bibliography

Source 1

This article discusses small scale ways of cooling, primarily through ventilation. I am unsure that this will be effective for dorm or large buildings, smaller buildings such as Sturges could probably take advantage of some of these techniques.

Source 2

This source is from another college’s sustainability plan giving ideas of how to make heating and cooling systems more efficient.

Source 3

This article focuses on the use of solar energy for heating and cooling, using examples of residential, offices, and hotels. The study looked at the efficiency and any CO2 emissions.

Source 4

This is a book that covers everything you need to know about thermogeology, although it is not about creating a way of capturing and using heat in the ground. This book will be primarily used for details about thermogeology when it’s used as a heating source.

Source 5

This article about a campus using waste pumps to generate heating and cooling for their buildings. This system could cut the school’s emissions in half, but it still needs a lot of electricity to run it.

Source 6

This article reviews the use of district heating and cooling. One building or centralized area would generate the energy and then distribute it throughout the surrounding areas.

Source 7

This source focuses on geothermal HVAC for college campuses.

Source 8

Chapter 7 of David JC Mackay’s Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air discusses the energy use for traditional heating and cooling methods. The book may explore it further, but I haven’t read far enough into it to know.

Source 9

This is an informative article from a company about how geothermal energy works.

Source 10

This article focuses on heating and cooling use groundwater.

Project Proposal: Campus Sustainability Plan

September 23, 2016



To gain awareness, feedback and support for the Campus Sustainability Plan


Awareness: This step will involve further outreach to the OWU community so that the majority of staff, faculty, and students are aware of the draft of the plan as well as the current state of sustainability on campus. To further the awareness, a interactive online version of the plan with expandable sections and tags will be available along with longer summaries of the visions and details for the specific parts so far as they have already been developed.

Feedback: This step includes meeting with important figures on campus to receive input on the plan. This input will answer the questions ‘What does the campus want out of the plan?’ and ‘What goals are feasible for the campus?’. Meetings will include with Peter Schantz (Head of B&G), Gene Castelli (Head of Chartwells), the Sustainability Task Force, Ryan Bishop and Caroline Hamlin (representatives from WCSA), President Rock Jones, Environment and Wildlife Club, and others. Further drafts of the plan will then reflect this input where possible. The plan will also fill in details where progress is already being made on campus within the four categories.

Support: The culmination of the first two steps, awareness and feedback, will result in the final support of the campus for the final draft. This support will be included in the proposal of the plan to the trustees to show that the plan actually represents (as best as it can) the desires and the abilities of the campus for sustainability projects and policies.

Expected Outcome:

To have a final draft of the Campus Sustainability Plan to be proposed to the Board of Trustees. This draft may not be the final plan approved by the board but will be a baseline for conversations among the board addressing the desires of the campus.

Project Ideas: Amanda Apicella

August 31, 2016

1) I am interested in the idea of raising mealworms by/and feeding them plastics and styrofoam for their primary diet. Mealworms apparently are able to digest/break down and even survive (and thrive healthily) on a diet solely consisting of styrofoam and other forms of polystyrene (which make up many types of plastics). The waste they produce alongside the usual CO2 from the process is also able to be used for soil for plants to grow so it is a fascinating process that may help with breaking down/recycling such a stubborn substance in our environment. It would require a lot of mealworms which doesn’t generally take up that much space but the main issue I would think is the life cycle and the time in each stage (and whether they would be able to digest it in other stages or will I just end up with a bunch of useless beetles and have to get or breed more mealworms to continuously cycle it). It is just an idea and I have a few papers/studies I am reading to look more into the technicalities of it so I just thought I would throw it out there.

Sources: Link to the Study (may require permissions) // Article by Fusion


2) Make houses and feeders for local bird populations on campus and bat houses (there are 2 species of bat in Ohio that are on the endangered/threatened species list due to white-nose syndrome and habitat loss).


3) I would also be interested in working on the Meek Retention Pond Native plantings project.


4) While I don’t know if this would be possible/feasible given the season and timing of this I would really like to help get a project with the Stratford Ecological center going by starting and maintaining bee hives on campus. They have been wanting to do it for awhile now but they would need students to help and invest in it on our end.